Target's private brands are well stocked for healthy dishes at a fraction of a price.
We all know too well that Target is a dangerous place for shoppers on a budget—the big-box retailer has fantastic items lurking everywhere, from home furnishings to new threads, to oh-so-cute kitchen accessories.
But not every department will wreak havoc on a budget: Target's grocery section is shockingly robust, with multiple private brands. And there are a slew of healthy grocery items available at very attractive prices.
Target's fresh produce section is chock full of foods that you're most likely buying elsewhere, including a selection of low-priced dairy-free milk alternatives.
If you find yourself exploring the grocery aisles, keep an eye out for the Simply Balanced brand—this collection of better-for-you groceries is the retailer's health-conscious line.
With the help of Jamie Vespa MS, RD, Cooking Light's assistant nutrition editor, we identified 10 products that are healthy enough to warrant a trip. And all are $10 or less.
1) Market Pantry Heart-Healthy Pasta Sauce, $1.59
Sometimes we're looking for the perfect low-effort shortcut dinner—which is why we were so excited to see this healthier-than-most pasta sauce. Whip up a batch of your favorite whole-wheat or legume noodles and enjoy this hearty tomato sauce. It's only 70 calories per serving, and a manageable 360 mg of sodium.
2) Simply Balanced Creamy Almond Butter, $6.99
What's not to love about an ingredient label with only one ingredient? This almond butter is a snack time win at 190 calories per serving and no added sugar—but the $6.99 price tag (it upwards of $10 at other stores) is just too good to pass up.
Buy It: Creamy Almond Butter
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3) Simply Balanced Organic Blueberry Granola With Flax, $3.59
This resealable bag is perfect for a snack or quick breakfast, and a bowl of this hearty mix is a great start to your day at just 240 calories. The blueberries add serious sweetness (12 g of sugar per serving) which means you can enjoy this granola mix with or without milk.
4) Simply Balanced Microwavable Wild Rice, $2.29
Ann Pittman, Cooking Light's executive food editor, is a big fan of using pre-cooked rice...as long as the rice hasn't been pre-seasoned. The secret is avoiding the salt counts in many varieties of flavored rice in microwavable pouches. Target's selection of microwavable wild rice has a few options, but this wild rice is shockingly healthy—just 190 calories and 15 mg of sodium.
Buy It: Microwavable Wild Rice
5) Simply Balanced Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, $2.79
Finding a healthy bag of chips is nearly impossible—but these blue corn tortilla chips come pretty close. Indulge in this 140-calorie snack alongside fresh salsa or a fun party dip that clocks in at a relatively low 80 mg of sodium and 19 g of carbohydrates.
Buy It: Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips
6) Archer Farms Lightly Salted Roasted Mixed Nuts, $5.99
Speaking of lower sodium, this resealable bag of mixed nuts contains about 50% less sodium compared with other leading snack mixes: It has just 40 mg.
7) Simply Balanced Gluten Free Sesame Rice Crackers, $3.39
But at $6 or more for a package, they're not always affordable—which is why Target's rice crackers are the perfect choice for a light snack that won't break the bank. 18 of these crackers are just 130 calories and tout a low 115 mg of sodium with just 22 g of carbohydrates.
8) Simply Balanced Roasted Chickpeas, $3.29
You'll want to keep this snack at your desk for those hunger pangs in between meals: It's a smart choice at just 130 calories and 115 mg of sodium.
Buy It: Sea Salt Roasted Chickpeas
9) Market Pantry California Raisins, $2.99
If you're making a sweet treat or a fresh loaf from scratch, or if you're just looking for a quick handful of something to snack on, these raisins are priced right and naturally sweet at 120 calories per serving.
Buy It: California Raisins
10) Simply Balanced Blended Nonfat Greek Yogurt, Priced In Store
When we visited our local Target, we couldn't help but notice the stockpile of fresh dairy items available to thrifty shoppers. A clear winner was the Simply Balanced blended Greek yogurt, where seasonal flavors and fan favorites rotate in and out of the store.
Our store stocked a coconut-flavored yogurt at $2.99 for a pack of 4 cups. Each cup held 14 g of sugar, 55 mg of sodium, and 140 calories. There are many more options available for you to take a peek at, including a traditional plain Greek yogurt.
Buy It: Nonfat Greek Yogurt
Honorable Mention: Simply Balanced Unsweetened Almond Milk
Target's dairy section—complete with affordable eggs sold in bulk—has a few non-dairy milk products that are excellently priced. A 64 oz carton of Simply Balanced Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk sold for a mere $2.79 at our local Target.